Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Freedom of Speech

Veronica Khokhlova at Neeka's Backlog has a post about Savik Shuster's television talk show Svoboda slova, which is now based in Ukraine. A recent edition of the program featured the recently-resigned Andrei Illarionov, and - Vladimir Zhirinovsky:
Another highlight was Vladimir Zhirinovsky, also live from Moscow. This man may seem like he's just a crazy schmuck, but more often than not the bullshit he's spitting out is actually the bullshit that's in many people's heads. So first he announced that by 2010, Ukraine and all the rest would be paying up to $1,000 for 1,000 cubic meters of the Russian gas (and as much for the Turkmen gas, because "Turkmenistan used to be part of the Russian Empire, not Ukrainian"). He then promised to teach us all the Russian language, and history ("There's never been a Ukrainian state in European history. Today's name of your state is a ruin, 'the outskirts of the Russian Empire.' If you don't like it within the Russian Empire, you're free to move elsewhere.").

The audience at this show consisted exclusively of Ukrainian college students studying in Kyiv, and they were laughing out loud every other minute. Vladyslav Kaskiv, of Pora, noted that despite the seriousness of the problem being discussed, the atmosphere in the studio was very cheerful: "I think this is the best illustration of what the real issues are and what's fiction in this hysterical dispute. I have to say I'm very proud that in this country the existence of politicians like this [like Zhirinovsky] is virtually impossible. And those who resemble them - certain witches [Natalya Vitrenko, most likely] - they do not have any real political status in Ukraine."
Read the whole thing.
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